Celebrating World Mission Sunday

On Sunday 21st October 2007, World Mission Sunday, Cardinal  Peter Turkson, Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, celebrated Mass in St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark. During his homily the Cardinal spoke affectionately of his predecessor Bishop Porter SMA, who was a Liverpudlian, and he wanted to remember at Mass all that the British missionaries, priests and religious men and women, had done to spread the Gospel in Ghana.

It was Sir James Marshall who, as a British civil servant working in Ghana, had written to ask the Holy See to send missionaries. Sir James Marshall is buried in St. Mary Magdalen Cemetery, Mortlake. The Cardinal finished his homily by encouraging the Ghanaian community to take seriously its role as the new evangelists and to welcome those priests who came from Africa to work alongside the priests of the diocese. He thanked everyone for their kind welcome, for the beautiful music provided by the Cathedral choir and for the dignified celebration.

Thanking the Cardinal for coming to St. George’s Cathedral, Canon James Cronin, the Cathedral Dean, pointed out that the Holy Ghost Fathers, many of whom had retired to Bickley, had worked in Ghana - they were represented by Fr. Henry Pass. Also in the congregation were a number of religious sisters who had worked in Ghana and had returned to the diocese - Daughters of Mary and Joseph, Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions and Sisters of Christ. He also noted that the Mass commemorated 50 years since the publication of the encyclical letter “Fidei Donum”  by Pope Pius XII and that our diocese had been generous in sending priests to the missions. Many of these former missionaries were unable to attend the Mass owing to parish commitments, but they were represented by Fr. Joe O’Connor, Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Addiscombe, who spent six years in Ecuador.

Cardinal Turkson was in London from 16th until 22nd October at the invitation of Mgr John Dale, Director of Pontifical Missionary Society. The purpose of his visit was to strengthen the links between the Church in England and Wales and the Church in Ghana. The Pontifical Missionary Society supports many of the dioceses in Ghana through an annual grant which pays for the needs of the dioceses, their building programmes and the formation of their clergy and catechists. During his visit Cardinal Turkson also celebrated Mass at Westminster Cathedral for the Ghanaian community.

Bishop Patrick Lynch and Canon James Cronin leave for Ghana on 2nd November for ten days as guests of Cardinal Turkson and they will address the Bishops’ Conference of Ghana assembled in Kumasi. 

Sister June Bell (left) of the Community of Daughters of Mary and Joseph is now resident at the convent at West Wickham. She taught Scripture with Cardinal Turkson at the junior seminary at Amisano, Cape Coast.

Monsignor John Dale, Director of the Pontifical Missionary Society, who invited Cardinal Turkson to England.